rain with a side of UK

i hit liverpool running last week.  some friends from the states have come out and added some new twists to the mix, as being with other people will do after spending so much time traveling alone.  first thing i do when i land is head to the hotel.  immediately we’re welcomed to the liverpool life.  there’s an interesting wedding reception going on, full of all the 80s wedding songs you could want.  i think “never gonna give you up,” by rick astley was blaring on our way out after checking in, and the oldest guy (probably a grandpa of one of the wedding party) is standing alone catching a night smoke.  he’s got a metal cigarette holder and my friend comments how cool it was as we passed.  well this old guy let us know how hammered he was when he turned aggressively wanting a fight.  he yelled, “what are ya, some kinda psychiatrist?”  not sure what he meant by that exactly, so we kinda laughed and told him that we were just being kind.  that only enraged him more.  yelling obscenities at us as we walked to the car, we just knew it wouldn’t be the last of this guy. well we get the car and have to drive right past him to the exit, he’s got a cane-type thing wrapped around his arm and he’s using it assist his walking out to meet us as we pass.  he jabs it in the air in our direction, still yelling at us.  we get to the gate, of which we don’t have the code to exit.  great.  so we back up, and watch this guy as he’s literally rubbing his hands together, warming them up for us.  i’m pretty sure he wanted to punch a hole right thru the car and thru our heads.  we again drive past him and use the back entrance to avoid having to deal with this guy.  we get the code and head back towards the gate.  he’s still out there yelling and taunting, letting us know what would happen to us if we were to come at him.  his family, obviously having seen this before, escorts him inside and we finally get out of the complex.  we get out to a pub in a small town outside the city.  again with the 80′s wedding songs.  they love this stuff.  not far from what i had expected of the culture here.  hello, liverpool!!!

the intent of staying in liverpool was to see their football (soccer) game the next day vs tottenham.  it was a huge game as the season-end neared, so getting tickets was impossible…a very cool environment in the city though.  anyway, we chose a less popular game to go to…wigan vs. west ham.  my friend and i knew a little, at most, about these teams, but seeing an english premiere league game was on both of our bucket lists, so we headed towards the wigan stadium.  stood in the rain for about 20 minutes trying to scalp some tickets out in front of the stadium.  finally a really cool guy hooked us up with seats next to him on the west ham (visitor) side.  which actually turned out to be the best side to sit.  west ham fans are nuts.  they came four to five hours north from london to stand in the rain and watch their team who is the worst in the english premiere league.  and not only did they come, they came in full force and gave the other fans hell.  apparently that’s what all the singing and chanting is all about you hear at the games.  especially from west ham.  chants like, “we pay your benefits”…or…”we forgot that you were here”…or my favorite…”your support is f*ing sh@t!”  they chanted all the way to the end, even though their team lost, and was eventually relegated out of the premiere league.  on the way out of the stadium, as the wigan fans rushed the field, and the bobbies stood protecting the fans from altercation, we saw a wigan fan in the adjacent stands taunting the west ham fans.  we picked him out of the crowd somehow and it was just so ridiculous.  i mean the whole thing brings the most childish of acts out of grown men, but this guy took the cake.  he was doing things like wiping his cheeks with his fists in a crying motion, making “na na na na-na naaaah” sounds, then bending over, pointing at his arse, then pointing over to the west ham fans…and his final move was to point at them and then spit on his hand.  this was the cheekiest 50-something-yr old man i’d ever seen.  what an experience.

rain, rain, and some more rain fell.  we hung out in small town, northern england for a couple of days, then headed to scotland…glasgow to be exact.  glasgow is a cool town, but we were really just there to have a nice scottish meal and head to the highlands the next day.  if you ever get a chance to get to scotland, do it, it’s a beautiful country and the people are extremely friendly.  we really experienced that when we got to edinburgh.  couldn’t have met nicer people while we were there…whether it was when we were trying to golf in 80mph winds or checking out the haunted side of the city, everyone was very cool.  edinburgh is up there on the “i could live there” list.  extremely windy, and some spotty rain, but a great place.

just got to london.  i’m excited to be here, rain or shine.  16 days left.

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